1. So I got an email from my dad this morning announcing he’s #2 out of roughly 5 million people on ESPN fantasy sports teams. That sounds pretty insane. This is more than a hobby for him, he spends like 2 hours maintaining his teams and he plays all sports (including things like bass fishing). Sounds like a lot of time, but probably less than I spend on social networking/message boards each day! If he remains #2 throughout the year (which he feels confident he will because baseball is his best sport and hockey/basketball are pretty much over), he could win $1000 Best Buy gift certificate. If he is #1, he wins a trip to the 2010 Espy awards. Anyway, I think this is such a fun and quirky character trait, how could I not use this in a novel? During my revision for Misjudged last month, I added it in for the dad character. It fit nicely because there’s already a big baseball theme in the novel (my protagonist is surrounded by baseball fanatics–Red Sox fans–and feels kind of left out because she just doesn’t share the same enthusiasm). Anyway, in the novel my protag also feels neglected because her dad spends too much time maintaining his fantasy world and ignoring real life, which leads to their relationship crumbling…until a catalyst happens that forces them to work together and confront their fractured relationship and maybe, possibly mend it. That’s not the case in my own relationship with my dad–we are very close–so I thought this was a good example of writing what you know, but still tweaking it for a novel. It’s from real life, but doesn’t resemble real life.
2. It’s #queryday on twitter. I try to keep up with the industry as much as possible, even if I’m not querying a book, so I find this interesting. I know there was a big controversy over last month’s #queryfail, but there’s specific rules for this one that I think those opposed will agree with. Also, agents and editors are taking questions, use the hashtag to ask one. It’s easiest to follow via tweetchat if you have an account or twitter search if you don’t. I like tweet chat because it automatically refreshes. Tweet Deck has a search feature too, but I’ve been finding lately my tweet deck is over rate limit much more often than it isn’t. Here are the rules reposted from Colleen Lindsay’s blog:
- Do not post real author names
- Do not post actual titles of manuscripts
- Do not post the actual title, character names, exact plot details or place settings of manuscript.
- Intersperse positive with negative comments. Tweet the things you like and dislike.
- Paraphrase where you can instead of actual quotes; use your discretion.
- Try to explain why you’re passing without excessive snark.
- Make sure to add the hashtag #Queryday to your tweet.
3. In honor of #queryday, I thought I’d post my query for those looking for examples of successful ones. This query had a 100% request rate and got me an offer of representation in only 10 days. Actually, here is the log from Verla Kay’s blueboards. This is from 2008, not 2009:
Feb 4 – E-query with first 10 pages pasted in email
Feb 5 – Request for the next five chapters
Feb 7 – Request for full by snail
Feb 13 – Request for phone call
Feb 14 – Offer of representation received
Feb 19 – Accepted offer of representation
This book is now on submission to editors…fingers crossed!
*Please note, after revisions with my agent, this query blurb doesn’t exactly match up anymore. The big thing is that Lara is now pretending to go to college and her parents have no idea she lost her scholarship (you find this out in ch1 on my website, so not a spoiler). There’s some other things that have changed, such as the word count, but this is still the query that got me my agent.
|Dear Ms. Bacher,
I’m writing because I know you’re developing a new YA department for the Stephanie Tade agency and you’re building your client list. Please consider my 70k young adult novel, THE ART OF SELLING MY SISTER.
Kasey Fishbein, sixteen, ruins her older sister‘s life by destroying her chances at a college dance scholarship. Now, she has to fix things for Lara before their parents find out. Lara, who once brimmed with talent, chooses to forgo college altogether if she can’t dance. Their parents grow disappointed in her and instead latch onto shy Kasey, deeming her the star of the family. But Kasey doesn’t want to fill the role Lara abandoned, so she quits the swim team without telling her parents–yet another secret.
A school marketing assignment offers Kasey a chance to confess her shameful actions while simultaneously giving Lara the one thing she longs for: the chance to be a star again. With the help of a popular blog, a synchronized swimming performance, and a boy who has everything to do with the secret the sisters are hiding, Kasey might just be able to sell her sister, and in the process find the confidence she needs to stand in the spotlight herself.
THE ART OF SELLING MY SISTER finished third place in the 2007 RWA ChickLit Chapter’s "Get Your Stiletto In The Door" contest and is a finalist in the 2008 "Great Expectations" contest. My short fiction has appeared in ShatterColors Literary Review, The Hiss Quarterly, The Deepening, and Shine Journal. I studied creative writing at Syracuse University with authors like Mary Gaitskill, and I’m an active member of both RWA and SCBWI. When not writing, I make my living as a computer animator where I’ve worked on a variety of projects ranging from a CGI Barbie Movie to the 2007 Superbowl Graphics.
For your convenience, I pasted the first chapter at the bottom of this email. Thank you for your time and consideration.
4. The Susan Boyle thing…I’m not going to talk about how great she is because we all know that by now. Instead I’m going to talk about HOW MUCH SHE MADE ME WANT TO SEE LES MISERABLES AGAIN! I am devastated it’s not on Broadway anymore because I want to run out and get tickets right this minute. Despite not really liking to read about death, Les Mis is by far my favorite musical. It just reminds me of my childhood because my sister and I used to listen to the CD on repeat. Also, instead of a normal Sweet 16 prom-type party, I tried to do something different. I rented a charter bus and took 20 of my friends for lunch at the Fashion Cafe and then to see Les Mis on Broadway. It was unique and different! Anyway, I am in Les Mis withdrawal and I’m not happy about it.